Winter is here! A guide to properly care for your Haygain hay steamer in the colder months.
By Kim Miller | Equestrian Writer
Who wouldn't want a nice hot meal on a cold day? Thousands of horses enjoy freshly-steamed, healthy hay through the worst of winter thanks to sturdy Haygain Hay Steamers.
Freezing temperatures do require a little extra TLC for the steamer and its boiler unit. The ideal is keeping the whole unit, or at least the boiler, in a heated area when not in use.
We know that's not an option for everyone, so here are simple steps for steamer maintenance in extremely cold climates.
The goal is eliminating residual water, moisture and condensation, so that it doesn't freeze and clog things up. This is accomplished by draining the hoses, chest and boiler and drying the spikes, manifold and fittings when the unit is done steaming each day.
Tips for Effective Steaming in Extreme Cold
- Disconnect hose from chest and let it hang straight to drain excess water
- Tip the chest so excess water exits through the drain hole.
- Wipe down inside of chest, the fittings, manifolds, and, with extra care, the spikes, to remove moisture.
- Drain all water from the boiler unit (or, ideally, keep it in a heated environment between uses) after each day's use.
Trouble Shooting Tips:
Check the hose: With hose connected to the boiler only, turn boiler on and allow 15-20 minutes to heat. If no steam comes out of hose, turn boiler off immediately and allow it to cool for five minutes. The hose is likely blocked with ice. Submerge hose in hot water and squeeze it to clear the blockage.
Check the manifolds & spikes: Connect the hose to boiler and an empty chest. Turn boiler on and allow 15-20 minutes to heat. Check that steam is coming through the rubber hose inside the chest, through the manifolds and out of the spikes.
If not, turn boiler off immediately and allow to cool. Pour boiling water over manifold, spikes and hose inside the chest. Squeeze hose inside the chest to help melt any ice there.
Keep In Mind:
Colder outside and water temperatures equal longer steaming times.
Follow the recommended frequency for descaling your boiler based on how "hard" the water is in your area (link to the chart below).
- Never use additives, like anti-freeze, with the water in your boiler.
- Never pour cold water on a hot boiler.